The By Nature pet food brand is one among the many other brands under the Blue Seal Feeds Company. This company manufactures food for several different types of animals including dogs and cats. Initially, when it was founded in the late 1800’s, it was solely a horse feed manufacturing company. Today, the company operates nine manufacturing plants with the By Nature brand being manufactured at one of the plants situated in Londonderry, New Hampshire.
One pet formula under the By Nature brand is the By Nature Duck Stew Wet Cat Food formula. According to the manufacturer, this is formula contains the nutrition necessary for your cat to thrive. As a grain free product, the By Nature Duck Stew Wet formula contains natural sources of protein, carbohydrates and vitamins. The absence of grains in the meal also ensures that the formula does not cause gastrointestinal issues.
With all the hype about this product, is it really the best food for your cat? Let’s take a closer look and find out.
Ingredients in By Nature Duck Stew Cat Food
Duck, Duck Broth, Vegetable Broth, Turkey Liver, Egg, Carrots, Natural Flavor, Sweet Potato, Pea Flour, Spinach, Potato Starch, Guar Gum, Flaxseed, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Squash, Alfalfa Meal, Salt, Cranberries, Calcium Carbonate, Thyme, Rosemary, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement (Vitamin B3), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), d-Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Vitamin E Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D2 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9).
All ingredients used to manufacture this cat food have been blended to meet the AAFCO nutritional requirements for cat foods.
Top 5 Ingredients Analysis
It is always ideal to check the composition of the first five ingredients in any pet formula. These ingredients make up most of the nutritional percentage in the formula. We will now analyze the top 5 ingredients in this blend.
Duck – Duck is an excellent alternative meat source and provides very high quality meat proteins for your cat. As a whole meat product, much of this ingredient is lost during the cooking process, but it is less water heavy than other whole meat ingredients like chicken or beef. So, while much of this ingredient is lost during the cooking process, it is still a very high quality ingredient and we are quite pleased to see it listed here.
Duck broth – Broth is used to add flavor and moisture to the food, and in this case, the broth comes from a named source. Many times, broths come from unnamed sources but in this case, we know it comes from duck. For the most part, broths are considered to be a better moisture source than plain water. A high level of broth is perfectly normal for canned cat foods.
Vegetable broth – Broth is used to add flavor and moisture to the food, but in this case, the broth comes from an unnamed source. We usually like to see a named broth source like chicken broth or vegetable broth, but since this ingredient is unnamed, we are left guessing. While it is unlikely this ingredient is harmful to your cat, we would much rather see a named broth source here.
Turkey liver – In the wild, cats almost always eat the liver of their prey. It is a rich source of vitamin A which cats must obtain from their food since they can’t make it in their bodies. This is also a good secondary source of protein. If cats consume too much liver, it could cause toxicity, but the amount needed for liver to become toxic to cats is very high. Liver is provided in safe quantities in this cat food blend.
Egg – While raw eggs can cause some skin problems in cats, cooked eggs are healthy for cats and supply quite a bit of protein. Some cat owners prefer only feeding egg whites because the yolks can add a fairly high amount of cholesterol. In addition to the protein content, eggs also supply potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, and iron. In moderation, this is considered a healthy ingredient for cats.
Additional Ingredients Of Interest In By Nature Duck Stew Wet Cat Food
Pea flour – Peas are becoming more and more common in pet foods today, especially those listed as grain-free, holistic, or natural pet foods. While peas are certainly not grains, they serve much the same purpose. It mostly acts as a filler and a cheap way to increase the protein percentage of the food. However, cats receive almost no nutritional value from peas. Since cats are obligate carnivores, they require proteins from meat based ingredients. There is very little research that has been performed on the long term effects of cats consuming peas. We do know that peas can cause runny poop or digestion issues in dogs, but the full effect on cats remains a bit of an unknown. Since the peas in this case are added as a flour, the ingredient is probably added to help with the consistency of the food and the cooking process.
Flaxseed – Flaxseeds (also called linseeds) are a rich source of micronutrients, dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin B1, and the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, also known as ALA or omega-3. The seeds come from flax, one of the the oldest fiber crops in the world. It is not only a source of healthy fat, antioxidants, and fiber; modern research has found evidence to suggest that flaxseed can also help lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. The health risk associated with this ingredient is low and in general, flaxseed is considered to be a beneficial ingredient for cats.
Potato starch – Potato starch is starch extracted from potatoes and is usually only included to assist with the consistency and texture of the food. Cats generally do not receive much nutritional value from this ingredient, although it may sometimes aid in proper digestion.
Squash – Squash is not an ingredient your cat will gain any nutritional value from, but it is a preferred “filler ingredient” that will help make your cat feel more full. Many cat foods will use grains for this purpose, but many cat owners have been shying away from grains in pet food, so ingredients like squash are becoming more common. In the end, this ingredient may help the food taste better and might help to make your cat feel more satisfied after eating a meal.
Allergy Risks With By Nature Duck Stew Cat Food
Because of the fact this By Nature blend contains no grain, it is unlikely to cause allergic reactions in cats. The presence of complex carbohydrates also ensures the formula doesn’t lead to digestive issues. Of course, all cats are unique and may experience problems with any ingredient. Always watch for allergic reactions or digestions problems when switching to a new type of cat food.
Poor Quality Ingredients Commonly Found In Cat Food
Soy, wheat and corn – All three of these ingredients are known allergens for many cats. In addition, many cats have problems digesting these grain based ingredients. Since cats are obligate carnivores, their digestive systems are designed to digest meat and not grains. All of these ingredients will help to boost the protein percentage in cat food, but not all protein is created equally. Cats do not digest plant based proteins in the same way as meat proteins and in fact, gain little to no nutritional value from these grains. Several “grocery store brand” cat foods include these products to keep the price down as it is a cheap filler to help make your cat feel full as well as a cheap way to add protein to the food.
BHT and BHA preservatives – Both BHA & BHT are preservatives that have been banned in human foods in many countries due to cancer risks. However, they remain approved for use in pet foods. A growing number of pet owners are becoming aware of the potential dangers these ingredients bring and are shunning all foods containing BHA and BHT. A quick internet search on these preservatives will show that the backlash is gaining steam with many cat food companies abandoning these ingredients. BHA and BHT are extremely controversial ingredients in all forms of pet food.
Artificial food coloring – There is absolutely no reason to included artificial colors into any cat food, ever. It’s extremely disappointing to see this ultra-low quality ingredient included. Added artificial coloring is used for marketing purposes only. They want their product to stand out sitting on the shelf at the store, so they add coloring to their product. Essentially, the coloring is added to entice YOU (the human) to purchase the food over other brands. Your cat could care less what color the food is. Unfortunately, added color is quite controversial as there is growing evidence suggesting cancer in cats from too much food color exposure. At worse, this is a harmful ingredient and at best, it is a marketing ploy with no nutritional value or positive benefit to your cat. We usually have a tough time recommending any cat food that includes such a controversial ingredient.
Fortunately these ingredients are not present in the By Nature Duck Stew Wet cat food formula.
The By Nature Duck Stew Wet cat food formula is made using wholesome ingredients, and is usually a good formula for cats with allergies. It contains no artificial additives or fillers. While the price may be a bit high, we believe the cost is worth it. Judging by the ingredients alone, this is an excellent cat food that we believe is significantly above the industry average in terms of quality.